Collecting Societies in Germany

Collecting societies manage copyrights and related rights on a trustee basis for a large number of authors. In Germany, the underlying legal basis is the Copyright Administration Act. Our overview covers the most important German collecting societies. The German Patent and Trade Mark Office is the supervisory authority for these societies.


AGICOA was formed in 1995 by GWFF, Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten mbH (Society administering film and television rights) and AGICOA Geneva. Its aim is to administer, as trustee, the royalty claims due under the Copyright Act from wired and wireless retransmission of cinematographic works for film producers in Germany and abroad from participating authors, other rights owners, film users and distributors and to distribute the revenues collected to the rights owners.



In Germany GEMA administers the copyrights of more than 67.300 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers) as well as those of over two million rights owners from all corners of the globe. It is one of the largest authors’ societies in the world for works of music.




As a film rights society, GÜFA represents the legal interests of its members in Germany – authors and film producers and/or holders of synchronisation rights and other neighbouring rights, who are mainly engaged in the production of erotic and pornographic films. GÜFA has the legal status of a GmbH (company with limited liability).



Anyone who performs artistically or creates the commercial basis for such an activity must receive money for the utilisation of his or her performances. The Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten mbH (GVL = Society for the exploitation of neighbouring rights) covers such usage. Each year, GVL passes on the money collected in trust directly to its rights owners in the form of a remuneration. The shareholders of GVL are the Deutsche Orchestervereinigung e.V. (DOV = German Orchestra Union) and the Bundesverband Musikindustrie e.V. (BVMI = Federal Association of the Music Industry).


Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten mbH (Society administering film and television rights), is a collecting society approved by the German Patent and Trademark Office under the German Copyright Administration Act. It was formed in 1982 by film and television producers with the aim of administering and collecting the royalty claims due to them and to film authors under the German Copyright Act for reproduction and secondary use.



TWF administers the statutory royalty claims of producers of commercial spots under Art. 94 of the German Copyright Act pursuant to Articles 54 and 20 b of the said Act. It was approved in 2008 by the German Patent and Trademark Office and since 2011 has been a partner in ZPÜ (Central Organisation for Private Copying Rights) and a member of the Munich Group. 


VFF is the collecting society for the field of commissioned and own productions. Its rights owners are over 1,900 German producers as well as the public broadcasting organisations ARD and ZDF, the commercial subsidiaries of ARD and many private television broadcasters such as RTL, RTL II, VOX, DAS VIERTE, Tele 5, Sport1.


VGF was set up in 1981 by film producers and distributors with the aim of collecting the royalty claims due and asserting the rights for film authors that are to be administered collectively. VGF is used mainly by film producers and directors, but it also manages the rights of those, who obtain their rights from the producer of a film (film distributors, dealers in film licences, global distribution companies, among others.). It goes without saying that film producers also include the co-producers of a film.


VG Media

VG Media is the collecting society for private television and radio broadcasters based in Berlin. It represents the copyrights and related rights of the private broadcasting industry in Germany and Europe. VG Media protects the interests of 128 broadcasting stations. The companies it represents include nearly all the German private TV and radio broadcasters operating in a variety of sectors. The international TV broadcasting stations include, among others, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN International, Comedy Central, euronews, FRANCE 24, Net5, PRIMA TV, PULS 4, SBS 6, TV2, Veronica.

VG Musikedition

VG Musikedition is a collecting society administering music rights. Its members are music publishers, composers, lyricists and publishers of musicological works and it manages a wide range of copyrights and statutory royalty claims for them. The most important functions of VG Musikedition include granting schools, churches, music schools, child-care centres, adult education centres and other non-commercial institutions of training and professional development licences to copy sheet music (and song lyrics). A further field is the administration of rights pursuant to Art. 46 of the German Copyright Act and the licensing of exploitation rights arising from neighbouring rights.


VG Wort

The collecting society VG Wort was formed in February 1958. It is a registered association by charter, in which authors and publishers have organised themselves into a society for the joint exploitation of copyrights. VG Wort is currently charged with the administration of copyright exploitation rights and royalty claims for more than 682,000 authors and publishers in Germany. Like all the collecting societies, VG Wort is subject to state supervision by the German Patent and Trademark Office.

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